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While a pen is considered baleful only when it is of the poison variety, in the hands of Bullseye it can be lethal—as can a paper clip, a playing card, or a trashcan lid. “Watch Out for Bullseye— He Never Misses!” warned the title of writer Marv Wolfman's story in Daredevil vol. 1 #131 (1976), drawn by Bob Brown and Klaus Janson, introducing Marvel Comics' super-assassin. Bullseye, whose impeccable aim enables him to strike vital areas with deadly accuracy, chucked a potential career as a pro baseball pitcher for the military, acquiring a bloodlust while a solider in Vietnam. After a postwar stint as an African mercenary, he arrives in New York, garbed in a blue-black bodysuit with white concentric bull's-eye circles (a costume designed by John Romita, Sr.), slaughtering a man—with a pen to the neck!—who refused to pay him to spare his life. The blind superhero Daredevil becomes involved, and while the Man without Fear's radar sense allows him to anticipate and counter his foe's maneuvers, Bullseye nonetheless proves a relentless adversary. Bullseye is wildly psychotic, a condition worsened in earlier appearances by a brain tumor, and obsessively arrogant. His defeats in his first encounters with Daredevil sullied his standing as the premier killer-for-hire, causing his inimical fixation upon the hero. “A lovely night for a murder, isn't it?” Bullseye smugly asked Daredevil's former girlfriend, the Black Widow, as he attacked her with common household items such as a hairbrush and a hairdryer cord, using her as bait to fish the Man without Fear into conflict, in writer Roger McKenzie and penciler Frank Miller's “In the Hands of Bullseye” in Daredevil #160 (1979). It was in Miller's hands that Bullseye would become legend; Miller took over the series as plotter in 1980 and scripter in 1981 for a celebrated writer/artist run. Miller's landmark issue #181 (1982) featured a battle between a scornful Bullseye and Daredevil's love Elektra, who had assumed Bullseye's former role as the crimelord Kingpin's go-to assassin. Bullseye murdered Elektra, skewering her with her own sai, and the ensuing grudge match between the marksman and a retributive Daredevil left Bullseye with a shattered spine. After recovering, Bullseye's hostility toward Daredevil grew, and their clashes became more brutal. In Daredevil vol. 2 #5 (1999), Bullseye struck another blow at his foe by murdering the hero's ex-girlfriend Karen Page—using Daredevil's own weapon, his billy club. For years, Bullseye's origin and real name were secret, and he preferred it that way, allowing his codename and his reputation to be his calling card, although he had occasionally used the pseudonym “Benjamin Poindexter.” Daredevil hinted at his knowledge of Bullseye's past by calling the killer “Lester” in writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev's Daredevil vol. 2 #49 (2003); in that tale, an angry Daredevil knifes a bull's-eye scar into his enemy's forehead, a look paralleling actor Colin Farrell's non-costumed Bullseye from the 2003 liveaction Daredevil movie (Bullseye has since parroted that look in the comic books). The 2004–2005 miniseries Bullseye: Greatest Hits offered more information into the villain's past, including revelations of a former stint as an assassin for the National Security Agency. Bullseye action figures have been produced in the 2000s.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.